June 23, 2024
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EU: Oil import dependency at its highest in 2022

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The EU’s import dependency for the entire family of crude oil and petroleum products surged to a new record high of 97.7% in 2022. This increase came after a significant decline in import dependency in 2021 to 91.6%, according to Eurostat data.

The import dependency recorded in 2022 resulted from a combination of changes in net imports (+9.5%), with imports rising by 4.9%, exports declining by 1.7% and gross available energy going up by 2.8%. The increase in dependency was also driven by a stock buildup of 8.3 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe). The buildup helped refill some of the crude oil and petroleum used up in 2021 when the biggest yearly usage (20.2 Mtoe) was recorded. Restocking in 2022 contributed to the increased import dependency.

The dependence on imported crude oil, an essential primary commodity for the petrochemical industry and the production of transport fuels, also increased in 2022, reaching 97.6%. 

Higher demand for fuels in the transport sector contributed to an increase in crude oil usage. Motor gasoline consumption increased by 6.3%, and kerosene-type jet fuel consumption rose by 32.5% in 2022 compared with 2021.

The increase in import dependency coincided with considerable changes in import origins. In May 2022, the European Commission implemented the REPowerEU plan to reduce its dependency on Russian fossil fuels. In 2022, imports of oil and petroleum products from Russia decreased by 24.57 million tons. This decrease was compensated by increased imports from Saudi Arabia, the United States and Norway. 

EU’s crude oil production still decreasing

In 2022, crude oil production in the EU continued to decline, despite a significant increase in crude oil prices caused by the Russian aggression against Ukraine. The production in 2022 plummeted to its historical lowest point, reaching 16.3 million tonnes (Mt), down 7.4% compared with 2021. Considering a longer time frame, crude oil production has been declining since 2004 when it peaked at 41.8 Mt, with the 2022 value dropping by 61% compared with the record figure.

The EU’s top oil producers in 2022 were Italy (4.5 Mt), Denmark (3.2 Mt) and Romania (3.0 Mt). Compared with 2021, production decreased in all 3 countries: Italy (-8%), Denmark (-2%), and Romania (-6%).

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